SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK IS CLOSED.
President Trump recently unveiled new guidelines for Opening Up America Again, a three-phased approach to assist state and local officials in safely reopening their economies, getting people back to work and continuing to protect American lives. In accordance with this guidance and that of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local public health authorities, the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service are working to gradually increase access and our services across all units of the National Park System. The NPS will continue to work alongside state and local officials as these changes are implemented.
The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continues to be paramount. At Shenandoah, our operational approach will be to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance. Decisions on a phased resumption of operations are being made on a park-by-park basis and regularly monitored.
From time to time, circumstances may necessitate the closing of trails or other actions to ensure visitor and resource safety. As part of your planning, visit this page to get special alerts and information. If you are a frequent visitor, you may want to bookmark this page.
FIRE IN SOUTHERN PART OF PARK April 8, 2020 4:15 p.m.
Just in case our local folks are seeing smoke, we want to confirm that there is a fire in the Hanse Mountain area either partially in or very close to the Park west of Skyline Drive in the southern section. Our fire personnel are working with our local cooperators to size up the situation.
UPDATE April 9, 2020 10:22 a.m.
Firefighters got a line around the fire last night. Today they are looking for hot spots and monitoring.
PARK UPDATE April 8, 2020
Shenandoah National Park Will Temporarily Close
The National Park Service (NPS) received a letter from the Rappahannock Rapidan Health District of the Virginia Department of Health recommending the full closure of Shenandoah National Park. Upon receiving this request from the health department, Superintendent Jennifer Flynn, with the support of the NPS Deputy Director, Operations, David Vela and Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, made the decision to immediately close the park until further notice.
Virginia State Highways 211 and 33 will remain accessible to pass-through.
The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners is our number one priority. The NPS is working servicewide with federal, state, and local authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic. The park will notify the public when it resumes full operations and provide updates on the park website https://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/alerts.htm and social media channels.
The NPS encourages people to take advantage of the many digital tools already available to explore Shenandoah National Park, including:
PARK UPDATE April 4, 2020
If contemplating a visit to a national park during this pandemic, the NPS asks visitors to adhere to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local public health authorities to protect visitors and employees. As services are limited, the NPS urges visitors to continue to practice Leave No Trace principles, including pack-in and pack-out, to keep outdoor spaces safer and healthier.
Updates about NPS operations will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus. Please check with individual parks for specific details about park operations.
PARK UPDATE April 3, 2020
No closures have been lifted. If we have posted a closure, it remains in effect. Please make it your responsibility to study the information on our website and comply. Safety (yours and our staff’s) is our number one priority. If you need maps to plan hikes to less crowded areas, you can order online here: www.snpbooks.org
We again urge you to hike from Skyline Drive rather than from the boundary. If you encounter a crowded parking area, move on to another.
Restrooms are closed to protect our visitors and staff. Practice "Leave No Trace" principles: Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished. Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products. It’s a good idea to bring a plastic bag for used toilet paper and waste.
Please make wise decisions so that our Emergency Services staff do not have to put themselves at further risk. Be sure to follow CDC guidelines for social distancing and protecting yourself and others.
Again, we urge you to hike Shenandoah's trails from Skyline Drive and NOT from the boundary. The following boundary access points in Rappahannock County and Page County are closed. This is an official closure. You can NOT park or enter Shenandoah at these points. Failure to comply can result in a fine and/or imprisonment according to the Code of Federal Regulations.
All Shenandoah National Park trailheads in Rappahannock County are closed. These trailheads include:
CAMPING IN SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED. The backcountry is closed to camping and the campgrounds are closed. Closed campgrounds may NOT be used.
PARK UPDATE April 1, 2020
Skyline Drive stretches 105 miles. Along those miles are over 150 places where trails intersect with Skyline Drive. In support of our neighbors along narrow county roads near the boundary, we are asking that those who wish to use the park for outdoor recreation in accordance with the Governor’s stay-at-home order only use those trail access points along Skyline Drive rather than those on the boundary.
Crowds at many boundary access points are creating hazards and unnecessary trouble to our neighbors and local jurisdictions already burdened with the pandemic. Parking along remote county roads is often minimal and access is very limited.
Please note that the following boundary trailheads to enter the park have been officially closed and anyone entering or leaving the park via those trailheads is subject to law enforcement. Additionally, some counties have closed roads to those access points to all but local travel. Violators can and will be prosecuted.
POWERLINE TRIMMING March 31, 2020
There will be aerial tree trimming along the powerline right of way (ROW) that passes through the Big Meadows and Rapidan Camp area, mile 51 Skyline Drive, and the Elkwallow, Piney River, and Mathews Arm areas, mile 22.2 - 24.0. Over the next two weeks a helicopter and ground crew will work on weekdays when weather permits. Short term power outages can be expected during the helicopter work. As the work crosses roads and trails temporary closures will be imposed for no more than 15 minutes. Please abide by all directions of the ground crew who are in place for vehicle and hiker safety. Ground crews will continue to work in the ROWs until June 30, 2020.
PARK UPDATE March 30, 2020
The following trailhead parking areas are closed in support of the Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors request.
There are no open facilities in the park at this time.
The concessioner, Delaware North plans to open facilities according to the following updated schedule:
Lewis Mountain Cabins and Campstore
PARK UPDATE March 29, 2020
Additional boundary trailhead access closures in Madison County: Madison County officials are closing Routes 670 and 648 leading to the boundary trailheads for Rose River and Dark Hollow.
PARK UPDATE March 29, 2020
Additional boundary trailhead access closures in Rappahannock County: Rappahannock County officials are closing Mount Marshall Road (625) that leads to Mount Marshall Trailhead and Old Hollow Road (Route 612) that leads to Thornton River Trailhead.
PARK UPDATE March 28, 2020
Please note these closures that have been established in an effort to ensure the safety of visitors and staff and to promote compliance with CDC social distancing guidelines and state and local efforts to prevent the spread of COVID 19.
Visitor services, other than those of public and resource protection, such as law enforcement, are limited or suspended.
Remember that there are no open restrooms. The NPS urges visitors to practice Leave No Trace principles, including pack-in and pack-out, to keep outdoor spaces safe and healthy.
Please also make wise choices during your activities so that Emergency Medical Services staff do not have to put themselves at further risk.
PARK UPDATE March 27, 2020
The health and safety of National Park Service (NPS) visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners is our number one priority. Before visiting the park, please keep your own safety and that of our staff in mind, and plan ahead and prepare!
Visitor services, other than those of public and resource protection, such as law enforcement, will be limited or suspended.
Remember that there are no open restrooms. The NPS urges visitors to practice Leave No Trace principles, including pack-in and pack-out, to keep outdoor spaces safe and healthy.
Please also make wise choices during your activities so that EMS staff do not have to put themselves at further risk.
When contemplating a visit to a national park, the NPS asks people to act responsibly with regards to CDC, state and local guidelines to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Slowing the spread of novel coronavirus is everyone's responsibility.
These measures include: practice social distancing; wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; most importantly, please stay home if you feel sick. For high-risk populations, such as the elderly and people with underlying conditions, we ask that they take extra caution and follow CDC guidance for those at higher risk of serious illness.
PARK UPDATE & RECAP OF THE CURRENT SITUATION March 26, 2020
As you know, the response to the COVID-19 pandemic is evolving quickly. Please check back with us often for updates.
PARK UPDATE March 25, 2020
Shenandoah National Park, in response to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Virginia Department of Health, is announcing additional modifications to operations to support federal, state, and local efforts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
As of March 25, 2020, the following trails will be closed:
Additionally, in coordination with Albemarle County, the City of Charlottesville, and the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority, as a public health precaution, the recreational area around Sugar Hollow Reservoir is closed.
Updates will be posted to the RWSA website: www.rivanna.org
PARK UPDATE March 24, 2020
About 100 miles of the famous Appalachian Trail (A.T.) run through Shenandoah National Park. Along our portion of the trail are huts, shelters, and cabins maintained by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, an all volunteer organization that donates countless hours toward maintaining the A.T. and its associated resources. At this time A.T. huts and cabins in Shenandoah National Park are closed.
We’d also like to share with you this message from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy:
In these unprecedented times, I am making an unprecedented request: please stay away from the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). Whether your hike is for a couple of hours or a couple of days, staying away from the Trail minimizes the spread or contraction of COVID-19.
In a time when social distancing is necessary to minimize the spread and contraction of a dangerous virus, many have escaped to nature seeking isolation and unpopulated spaces. On the A.T., however, what they’ve found are trailhead parking lots exceeding their maximum capacities, shelters full of overnight hikers, day hikers using picnic tables and privies, and group trips continuing as planned. Popular spots along the Trail like Blood Mountain in Georgia, the McAfee Knob area in Virginia, and Annapolis Rocks in Maryland have seen day use reach record-breaking levels. Cars line the highways leading to popular day-hiking spots on the Trail. Hiking the A.T. has become, in other words, the opposite of social distancing.
These same crowds accessing the A.T. may not know how a simple half-day hike can spread COVID-19. While hiking, they may have eaten lunch at a picnic table, taken a break in a shelter, used a privy, or shared a map or food with someone unknowingly infected with COVID-19 and carried this highly contagious virus back to their communities at the end of the day. They may not have realized that ATC staff and Trail volunteers have been recalled from the A.T. and cannot maintain the footpath, trailheads, shelters and privies that may be heavily (or permanently) impacted by increased visitor use. And, they may not be aware of the rural communities adjacent to the Trail that may not have the healthcare resources to help a sick hiker or volunteer or manage a COVID-19 outbreak should a hiker transport the virus in from the Trail.
Many day hikers see the outdoors as an escape from the stresses of these difficult times. But with crowding from day hikers reaching unmanageable levels and the lack of any staff or volunteers to manage this traffic, it is necessary that all hikers avoid accessing the Trail. The A.T. is not a separate reality from the communities in which hikers live – so, until the risk of spreading COVID-19 has reduced significantly, hiking on a heavily-trafficked trail like the A.T. potentially increases rather than reduces harm.
The ATC does not want to do too little, too late. We cannot close the Trail. We cannot physically bar access to trailheads or connecting trails. We can and do, however, urge everyone to please stay away from the Appalachian Trail until further notice.
There is an unfortunate truth about this virus: unless everyone is safe, no one is safe. So, take a walk around the block. Spend time with your loved ones. And, please, stay home.
Sandra "Sandi" Marra
President & CEO
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
PARK UPDATE March 23, 2020
The access roads to Old Rag and the Whiteoak Canyon boundary trailhead have been closed indefinitely by the Madison County Sheriff's Office.
We are closely monitoring COVID-19 with the federal, state, and local authorities. The situation is changing rapidly. Please monitor our social media sites and/or our website for the most up-to-date information. We will post new information as soon as we have it. Please understand that we cannot always answer individual questions so review the available information in our social media feeds and/or on our website before contacting us. Thanks for your patience and understanding.
PARK UPDATE March 22, 2020
The Old Rag Mountain and Whiteoak Canyon trails, the boundary access roads, Nethers Road and Weakley Hollow Road, are closed by authority of the Madison County Sheriff's Office. Only local residents will be able to access these roads. Please stay away from this area at this time. Skyline Drive and other park trails are open. If you do choose to visit Shenandoah National Park, please keep CDC social distancing recommendations in mind.
PARK UPDATE March 21, 2020
The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners at Shenandoah is our number one priority. The CDC guidance for this pandemic includes social distancing. We are concerned that Saturday’s visitation patterns were in violation of CDC recommendations.
If you are coming to the Park, please choose to visit areas that are not crowded to allow for adequate social distancing. This would include NOT hiking at Old Rag, Whiteoak Canyon, Dark Hollow Falls and other high-use trails. The Old Rag and Berry Hollow area became so congested on Saturday that local authorities had to close the road. Use this opportunity to explore different areas of the Park. Download our app and visit our website to plan hikes to lesser known areas. If you encounter a crowded trailhead, go elsewhere. Many trailheads have panels with hike directions and maps. Snap a photo of it so you have it with you.
Hiking maps: https://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/hiking-safety.htm
We are closely monitoring COVID-19 with the federal, state, and local authorities. Outdoor spaces remain accessible to the public in accordance with the latest health guidance, in addition to entry fees being waived for visitors.
The National Park Service (NPS) encourages people who choose to visit Shenandoah during this pandemic to adhere to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local public health authorities to protect visitors and employees. As services are limited, the NPS urges visitors to continue to practice Leave No Trace principles, including pack-in and pack-out, to keep outdoor spaces safe and healthy.
For full information about operational changes at Shenandoah: https://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/alerts.htm
PARK UPDATE March 20, 2020
If you are coming to the Park please note the following:
PARK UPDATE March 19, 2020
Following guidance from the CDC and recommendations from state and local public health authorities in consultation with NPS Public Health Service Officers, Shenandoah National Park offers the following updates to operations:
PARK UPDATE March 18, 2020
Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive are open including trails, restrooms, and entrance stations*. All other facilities are closed following guidance from the CDC and recommendations from state and local public health in consultation with the NPS Public Health Service. Updates will be posted to the park website and social media.
Update for Wednesday, March 18, 2020
We are delaying the opening of the two park campgrounds (Big Meadows and Lewis Mountain) that were scheduled to open next week.
The new planned opening date is April 9 for Lewis Mountain Campground.
The new planned opening date is April 10 for Big Meadows Campground.
These are planned dates, subject to further modification as this public health emergency continues to evolve.
Our concessioner, Delaware North (DNC) will be opening the following concession facilities over the next week:
March 26, 2020, Lewis Mountain Cabins and Campstore will open as scheduled.
March 27, 2020, Big Meadows Wayside will open as scheduled with some operational changes. There will not be any prepared-as-ordered food. The dining room portion of the wayside will be closed. DNC will actively manage the visitor flow into the wayside to assure we honor the President's direction that limits groups larger than 10. The hours for the Wayside will be 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
*Swift Run Entrance Station will not be open, however you may still enter the Park there. For the duration of the emergency, passport stamps will not be available.
DICKEY RIDGE PICNIC GROUNDS March 11, 2020
Dickey Ridge Picnic Grounds is closed to vehicular traffic until May 1, 2020. Visitors may access by foot. Restrooms are closed.
OLD RAG AREA March 9, 2020
Changes are coming to the visitor experience at Old Rag Mountain. This post is lengthy, so if Old Rag is your jam, settle in.
It’s not a secret that Old Rag is crazy popular, and sometimes the crowds adversely affect the visitor experience. Research and conversation about how best to provide for safe enjoyment and resource protection at Old Rag are ongoing and park management is looking at alternatives.
In the meantime, we’ve been working on one of the biggest challenges at Old Rag: parking. The current lot is on leased land and its location requires hikers to walk along Route 600. A parking area closer to the trail and on Shenandoah National Park land has been a goal for some time.
The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, The Shenandoah National Park Trust, park staff, and contractors worked together to acquire land for a new parking area nearer the trail, do the required archeology and environmental assessments, build new trails, and so much more!
The new parking area is near completion. We are happy that hikers will be off the road and have safer access to the trail. And, having parking on park-owned land helps guarantee access in perpetuity.
The new parking area is actually two lots connected by a walking bridge. The upper lot has dedicated RV and horse trailer parking; the lower lot connects with the trailhead.
There’s a new addition to the Ridge Trail that takes hikers from the parking area to the original loop. The loop of the Ridge and Saddle Trails to Weakley Hollow Fire Road is the same. Where Weakley Hollow Fire Road connects with Route 600, the new Old Rag Access Trail takes hikers back to the parking area.
For those of you concerned about crowding on the trail, this improvement does not increase vehicle capacity. For now, we will continue to use the former lease lot for some overflow parking, but the majority of the space will be used as a staging area for emergency services and a helicopter landing zone.
The area is still under construction, but we anticipate being ready mid-April.
ACCESS VIA PRIVATE PROPERTY
Many trails in Shenandoah National Park are accessed from the park boundary on public right of ways that pass through private property. We ask that you please respect the landowner’s property by staying on the blazed trail. There have been continued issues on some of these trails with trespassing, littering, illegal fires, camping, fishing, and a general lack of respect for the private property. This kind of behavior puts future trail access at risk. We are currently working with the some landowners to install signs (like the one shown) to give visitors guidance about staying on the trail when they are crossing private land.
BOUNDARY PARKING AT WHITEOAK (October 10, 2019)
Shenandoah National Park has reopened the boundary parking area at Whiteoak Canyon Trail off Route 600 in Madison County. The bridge across Cedar Run was severely damaged during heavy rains in 2018. The new bridge was constructed as a collaborative effort between the Piedmont Environmental Council, Trout Unlimited and the landowner, Jimmy Graves of Graves Mountain Lodge. The new bridge will allow fish to pass underneath which will improve the stream habitat.This will restore the 90 parking spaces that were available at the boundary prior to the closing of the bridge. However, visitors should expect the lot to fill on busy weekends and be prepared with alternate plans.
Beldor Fire Road/Horse Trail (7-25-2018)
WHITEOAK AND OLD RAG BOUNDARY ACCESS
Whiteoak Canyon and Old Rag can be accessed from the Park's boundary off Route 600. At each of these boundary trail accesses there are Shenandoah National Park-managed parking lots (for about 90 vehicles at Whiteoak and about 265 at Old Rag). Parking in these lots is free.You are required to purchase an entrance permit. Landowners with property adjacent to the Park are charging a fee for parking on their property near both of these areas. Paying a private citizen to park does not affect the entrance fee. Be sure to check the Shenandoah lot for availability before paying to park.
Jeremys Run Trail Boundary Access (October 31, 2017)
The boundary access to Jeremy's Run Trail across private property at State Route 611 is temporarily closed by the landowner. The park trail remains open. We ask that visitors respect the landowner's wishes and avoid this private property until further notice. The park is actively working to resolve the access situation.
Boil Water at South River and Dundo Picnic Grounds (1-18-17)
The water supplies at South River and Dundo Picnic Grounds may contain disease-causing organisms. These organisms include bacteria, viruses, and parasites which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and cramps. People with weakened immune systems, pregnant women, infants, young children, and older adults are at increased risk of illness.
Do not drink the water without boiling it first! Bring water to a boil for one minute. Boiled water should be used for drinking, cooking or any food preparation, handwashing, brushing teeth, and washing dishes.
BOUNDARY ACCESS ALERT-SUGAR HOLLOW ACCESS TO MOORMANS RIVER: OFF-PARK ROAD CLOSED AND REDUCED PARKING NEAR CHARLOTTESVILLE RESERVOIR
Virginia VDOT recently closed a section of Route 614 to vehicles due to a road washout. This closure prohibits vehicle access to the road past the Charlottesville Reservoir parking area (outside the Park's boundary) used by hikers and horse enthusiasts to reach the North and South Forks of Moormans River in Shenandoah. The vehicle restriction does not prohibit hikers or horses from using the corridor up to the Park boundary. Please note that no overnight parking is allowed at the reservoir. In addition, if there are vehicles parked there during the day, there my not be space to turn around with a horse trailer.
TRAIL IMPACTS DUE TO FRAGILE VEGETATION
POCOSIN HOLLOW AREA (8-25-11)
The recommended access to Pocosin area trails is via Skyline Drive from the parking area at mile 59.5.